For PFW, joining the Purdue University system meant becoming fully part of a powerful educational engine. But as an institution with its own history, in a city more than 100 miles from the main campus in West Lafayette, it also needed to carve out its own distinct space within the brand. Despite sharing the Purdue name, PFW has traditionally served a different kind of student: often first-generation, working collegians for whom a degree isn’t a first priority. And don’t call its athletic teams the Boilermakers — students, faculty, and staff are all Mastodons, and proud of it.
The mascot was emblematic of both the challenge and the solution. Where West Lafayette laid claim to astronauts, engineers, and the pursuing the next giant leap, Fort Wayne’s refreshed brand focused on the power of small steps. Because when small steps are taken together as Mastodons, they can have a thunderous impact.
We began by crafting a narrative about the strength and stability of the herd, a rallying cry for all potential PFW students. The Mastodon also became the driving visual force in the creative toolkit, for a unique identity with ownable textures and illustrations. We then aligned this look and feel with the Purdue master brand through a marriage of bold typefaces and color palettes, reinforcing the connection as part of a flexible system for PFW’s communicators.